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Information on Neep

Ordnance Survey map 1:50,000 sheet 129 : grid reference 583295

Bunny is situated on the A60 Nottingham to Leicester road, about 7 miles south of the centre of Nottingham. Immediately to the south of Bunny are the rolling hills of the Wolds. A distinctive feature of the village, even from a distance, is the large red brick tower of Bunny Hall, the ancestral home of the Parkyns family. The hall has a high brick wall giving it privacy from the village, and enclosing a large area of parkland.

The whole area, apart from the wooded slopes of the escarpment to the south (where gypsum is quarried) is totally agricultural, where the farms were owned by the Parkyns family and leased to the tenant farmers.

The ancient hall is the ancestral home of the Parkyns family. Sir Thomas Parkyns did much to popularise the art of wrestling. In the late 1600's and early 1700's wrestling was one of the games annually performed at the village of Bunny, and Sir Thomas, wrote a book on the art. He was a skilled athlete and stu died physic for the benefit of his neighbours. He would wrestle with any antagonist, and if beaten, take him into his service. On his monument in the parish church he is depicted in wrestling attitude, with a wide stance and hands held out before him. Sir Thomas did much for the village. He roofed the chancel of the church, built a vault beneath it, erected the Almshouses, and had many of the farmhouses in the Parish and the neighbouring village of Bradmore rebuilt. He aslo built a grammar school for the local villagers in 1700. This is a particularly beautiful building which still stands beside the main gate to the church, and adjacent to the main road though the village. Sir Thomas Parkyns died in 1741 at the age of 78.

Opposite the church stands the "Rancliffe Arms", a reminder of Lord Rancliffe, who, as a perpetual memorial to himself, planted trees on both Rancliffe and Windmill Hill. The inn dates back many centuries, and witnessed not only the march past of Henry VII's forces on their way to the battle of Stoke, but the passing of Cromwellian and Royalist armies during the Civil War.

Bunny church is particularly delightful, and a noteable feature of the graveyard is that most of the older gravestones were laid flat on the gound. Furthermore, they are made of slate, with particularly fine engraving and ornamentation, and with beautifully embellished "copper plate" script. The stones, for their age, are in a superb state of preservation. It is also interesting to note that many of the gravestones are of people who lived in the neighbouring village of Bradmore. Although Bradmore had (and still does) its own tiny stone church, it was a daughter church of Bunny, and has no graveyard of its own.

Although the church is kept locked, a key can be obtained from a local house. A visit inside the church is highly recommended, especially to see the statue of Sir Thomas Parkyns in his wrestling pose. The floor of the church, has many Parkyns graves, and the walls are particularly well endowed with alabaster monuments of the Elizabethan period.

Vicars of Bunny

1636 Samuel Lightfoot
Charles Wainwright
1690 Henry Twinburn
1701 Daniel Fernihough
1714 Thomas Poynton
1765 Luke Stephenson
1781 William Nelson
1785 William Beetham
1801 William Bayley Cocker
1823 John Tidy Beetham

Rod Neep - May 1997